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Local Construction Jobs Decline

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A recent report by the Associated General Contractors of America shows the Truckee Meadows ranks 317th out of 337 communities for construction jobs nationwide.

Nearly half of metro areas across the U.S. saw a decrease in construction jobs.

Here at home, construction jobs fell by 10%, during a 12-month period, that ended in August.

In August of last year, there were 9,300 construction jobs in Reno and Sparks.

There are 900 fewer this year, with the national unemployment rate, in construction, 11.9%.

"We may not get back to where we were, in 2007, and we understand that," John Madole said. "But we would certainly like to see the people who were really hardworking, been at this business all their life, that have really been impacted, we would like to see them get back to work."

Madole is the Executive Director of the Nevada chapter of AGC and says things are starting to level out but jobs are running out because of the completion of some projects, seasonal work ending, and because the Nevada Department of Transportation doesn't have any funding.

"They haven't had any increase in their funding, since 1992," Madole said. "Public Works is claiming they only have an $58 million budget for the state for the coming year and that compares to $7-800 million, five or six years ago."

Madole says NDOT has identified hundreds of millions of dollars of road upgrades, that could create jobs  - and he's hopeful the state legislature will invest more in infrastructure.

"If we let these things go long enough, a particular unit of road that can be fixed for a dollar now, if you let the base degenerate and everything, it will quadruple the price," Madole said.

Experts say there is also very little private sector momentum because of federal tax and funding uncertainty, so many are putting projects on the back burner.

"A lot of people don't know exactly what kind of a regulatory environment they're facing and I think they feel if they didn't have quite as many things to contend with, they might part with some of the money that's sitting on the sidelines," Madole said.

Madole says there have been some encouraging signs, locally, but it is hard to tell how long it will take to generate jobs.

Yuba City, California had the highest increase in construction job growth at 24%.

Springfield, Massachusetts had the biggest decrease at 31%.

Written by Paul Nelson
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